Senate Chairman Opens Door To Federal Legalized Pot

In the wake of new state laws legalizing the use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing on the matter, and left open the potential for federal law to mimic that found in Colorado and Washington. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday released a copy of a letter written earlier to drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, asking how the Obama administration plans to use federal resources in light of the new state laws, as well as what recommendations the agency is making to the Department of Justice. In particular, Leahy wants assurance from the administration that state officials responsible for the licensing of marijuana retailers will face no criminal penalties … Continue reading

Marriage Equality Supporters Don’t Fear Court Challenge

Among the reactions to the announcement Friday that the Supreme Court would consider a pair of laws related to same-sex marriage, supporters of marriage equality say they believe even the conservative high court will uphold their views. The Supreme Court will will consider a case that challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and review the lower federal court ruling which overturned California’s Proposition 8, with a ruling expected in June 2013. Enacted in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, DOMA is a federal law allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. It also prevents married same-sex spouses from receiving federal benefits that heterosexual spouses receive, such as Social Security. Proposition 8 is … Continue reading

Eric Holder Hero, Not Villain, Sen. Leahy Says

He may be facing a contempt-of-Congress vote next week in the House of Representatives, but Attorney General Eric Holder deserves praise — not contempt, according to one prominent Senate leader who oversees federal law enforcement. The full House is expected to vote next week on whether to find Holder in contempt of Congress for the Obama administration decision to invoke executive privilege to withhold some documents related to the controversial former Justice Department program “Fast And Furious.” A House committee dominated by Republicans voted on party lines Wednesday to find Holder in contempt. The administration invoked executive privilege for the first time in declining to offer some documents related to the so-called Mexico “gun-walking” program begun under the Bush administration. … Continue reading